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Other names: Kaai

Unrelated picture from Berlin.
Kaai and I had been driving for ten hours straight from Udupi, threading our way through the NH66 which ran all along the western coast. It was a last minute plan put together in all of twenty minutes by Kaai during the tea break. We would drive 700km to the Osho Ashram in Pune to get our hands on the hip new Osho sandals before anyone else in class. It was a bit much but this was 2006 and Osho was all the rage. ‘A little adventure won’t hurt’, he said. Little did we imagine that for one of us, this trip would last a lifetime.

I learned that Kaai was a very spiritual person. He hid that side of himself under rock band t-shirts, ripped jeans and the old bubblegum beret that he refused to part with even while he slept. It took me by surprise when he brought up ‘god’ literally in the middle of nowhere.

We passed a little kid who was throwing stones at the cars on the road.
“Think of it”, Kaai said.
“One day he’s going to throw a stone that will carry out his na├»ve but horrible intention. The stone will be not too light or too heavy, thrown with just enough force to break through the windshield. The man will crash and die – all on account of that stupid little child.”
“God exists without qualms. I am certain without a doubt that everything will go along just as they should. It’s already taken care of. Even if you, fearful of driving, took the wheel and veered off the road – I doubt anything would happen to us. I mean, I know this side of the country like the back of my hand. I know the road, the people – because believe me they are all the same everywhere. We just all give and take and go on in this incredulous, complicated journey together, until we cease to exist.”

There was nothing clear about the things he said, but what he meant to say was somehow made pure and clear. He used the word ‘pure’ a great deal which I don’t know why, made me uncomfortable even then. I had never dreamed Kaai would become a mystic. These were the first signs of his mysticism, which would lead to the strange, unkempt Osho saintliness of his later days.

Kaai and his car remained in Pune while I called home for money to buy a bus ticket back to Udupi. He dropped out of college and we never heard of him again. It would be another twenty years till I would spot that dirty bubblegum beret again.

To be continued…

PS. Or not?


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